Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Flintlock Gun of Louis XIII (1601–1643), King of France

Pierre Le Bourgeois (French, Lisieux, died 1627)
Marin Le Bourgeois (French, Lisieux, ca. 1550–1634)
ca. 1620
French, Lisieux
Steel, brass, silver, gold, wood (walnut), mother-of-pearl
L. 55 5/16 in. (140.5 cm); Cal. .59 in. (55 mm); L. of barrel 41 in. (104.1 cm); L. of lockplate 6 9/16 in. (16.7 cm); Wt. 5 lb. 11 oz. (2580 g)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund and Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1972
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 375
This fowling piece is one of the earliest firearms equiped with the flintlock of French construction. It was made for Louis XIII (reigned 1610–43) in the workshop directed by Pierre Le Bourgeois' brother, Marin (about 1550–1634), to whom the invention of the flintlock mechanism is traditionally ascribed. The decoration of the gun includes the crowned monogram of the king. The scroll-shaped end of the gunstock is an unusual and especially graceful feature of this gun's design.
#4434. Flintlock Gun
For Audio Guide tours and information, visit
Marking: Mark stamped on top of barrel near breech, a crossbow between letters PB, is attributed to Pierre le Bourgeois of Lisieux (d. 1627), brother of Marin (d. 1634) and Jean (d. 1615) le Bourgeois, both also arquebusiers in Lisieux.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Patterns of Collecting," December 6, 1975–March 23, 1976.

Saint Louis. Saint Louis Art Museum. "Firearms of Princes," December, 1939–January, 1940, no. Pl. I, c lent by Mr. William G. Renwick.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Cabinet d'Armes of Louis XIII," 1973, no. F.5.

Paris. Galeries nationales du Grand Palais. "Un temps d'exuberance: Les arts décoratifs sous Louis XIII et Anne d'Autriche," April 9–July 8, 2002.

Guiffrey, J. J. "Liste des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Architectes, Graveurs et Autres Artistes de la Maison de Roi, de la Reine ou des Prince du Sang, Pendant les XVI, XVII et XVIII Siècles." Nouvelles Archives de l'Art Français (1872), p. 63.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Accessions and Notes: Changes in the Armor Study Room." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 22, no. 7 198–99, ill.

Lenk, Torsten. "De Äldsta Flintlåsen, Deras Dekoration och Dekoratörer." Konsthistorisk Tidskrift III, nos. 4 p. 121, fig. 5.

The Hearst Corporation. "Early Firearms at St. Louis Museum." The Connoisseur 105, no. 465 pp. 217–18.

Hoopes, Thomas T., and City Art Museum of St. Louis. "Loan Exhibition: Firearms of Princes." Bulletin of the City Art Museum of St. Louis 25, no. 1 pp. 10–11, pl. I(c).

Hayward, J. F. The Art of the Gunmaker. Vol. 1. 1500–1660. London: Barrie and Rockliff, 1962. pp. 142–145.

Peterson, Harold L. The Treasury of the Gun. New York: Golden Press, 1962. p. 96–97, ill.

Lenk, Torsten. The Flintlock: Its Origin and Development, edited by John F. Hayward. London: Holland Press, 1965. pp. 16–17, pl. 9.

Lindsay, Merrill, Bruce Pendleton, Verne Noll, and Peter Parnall. One Hundred Great Guns: An Illustrated History of Firearms. New York: Walker and Company, 1967. p. 78.

Hoff, Arne. Feuerwaffen: Ein Waffenhistorisches Handbuch. Bibliothek für Kunst und Antiquitätenfreunde, Vol. 1. Braunschweig: Klinkhardt u. Biermann, 1969. pp. 246–50.

Norman, Geraldine. "£125,000 Paid for Single Gun." The Times (November 22, 1972), p. 1, ill.

Hayward, John F. "Notes on the Cabinet D'Armes of Louis XIII." Livrustkammaren 13, no. 1–2 pp. 23–32, figs. 1–2.

Hoving, Thomas. "[Director's Note]." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1973–74), p. 57.

Shirey, David L. "Met Acquires 17th-Century Flintlock." New York Times (May 5, 1973), p. 43, ill.

Lindsay, Merrill. "The Most Valuable Gun in the World." Guns (June 1974), pp. 42–45, 56–58, ill.

Nickel, Helmut. Ullstein-Waffenbuch: Eine Kulturhistorische Waffenkunde Mit Markenverzeichnis. Berlin: Ullstein, 1974. pp. 248, 257, ill.

Nickel, Helmut. "Arms and Armor." In The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1965–1975. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975. p. 44, ill.

Nickel, Helmut. "The Long Wait and the Quick Draw." In The Chase, the Capture: Collecting at the Metropolitan. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975. pp. 171–79, figs. 41–42.

Tarassuk, Leonid, and Robert Lawrence Wilson. "Aristocratic Arms Collectors: A History of Famous European Aficionados, Part I." Man at Arms 5 p. 34.

Tarassuk, Leonid. "The Cabinet d'Armes of Louis XIII: Some Firearms and Related Problems." Metropolitan Museum Journal 21 pp. 88–93, figs. 36–40 and cover.

Joris, Ph. "Un Pistolet a Rouet de Jean Le Bourgeois du Cabinet d'Armes de Louis XIII." Le Musée d'Armes 5, nos. 53–54 pp. 5–11, figs. 4–6.

Nickel, Helmut. "Arms and Armor from the Permanent Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Summer, 1991), pp. 42–43, 64, ill. p. 42.

Reverseau, Jean-Pierre. "Arquebuse de Pierre Le Bourgeois." Revue de la Societé des Amis du Musée de l'Armée 110 p. 69.

Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. Un Temps D'exubérance: Les Arts Décoratifs Sous Louis XIII et Anne D'autriche: Paris, Galeries Nationales Du Grand Palais, 9 Avril–8 Juillet 2002. Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2002. no. 215.

Reverseau, Jean-Pierre. Armes et Armures de la Couronne au Musée de l'Armée. Dijon: Éditions Faton, 2004. p. 295, ill.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Thomas P. Campbell. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. p. 166, ill.

Pyhrr, Stuart W. "Of Arms and Men: Arms and Armor at the Metropolitan, 1912–2012." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Summer 2012), pp. 43–44, fig. 72.

Related Objects

Pair of Wheellock Pistols

Artist: Pierre Le Bourgeois (French, Lisieux, died 1627) Date: ca. 1610–20 Medium: Steel, gold, wood, silver, mother-of-pearl Accession: 19.53.13, .14 On view in:Gallery 375

Cased Set of a Flintlock Rifle, a Pair of Pistols, and Accessories

Artist: Nicolas Noël Boutet (French, Versailles and Paris, 1761–1833) Date: ca. 1800 Medium: Steel, wood (walnut, mahogany), silver, gold, horn, velvet Accession: 1970.179.1a–q On view in:Gallery 375

Flintlock Rifle

Artist: Jacob Kuntz (American, Allentown, Pennsylvania 1780–1876 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Date: ca. 1810–15 Medium: Steel, brass, wood (maple), silver, bone, horn Accession: 42.22 On view in:Gallery 372

Rolltop desk

Artist: David Roentgen (German, Herrnhaag 1743–1807 Wiesbaden, master 1780) Date: ca. 1776–79 Medium: Oak, cherry, pine, mahogany, veneered with maple, burl woods, holly, hornbeam (all partially stained), tulipwood, mahogany, and other woods; mother-of-pearl; partially gilded and tooled leather; gilt bronze, iron, steel, brass, partially gold-lacquered brass Accession: 41.82 On view in:Gallery 553

Flintlock Pistol

Artist: Probably by James Grice (British, London, recorded 1793–96) , or by Joseph or William Grice, British, Birmingham Date: last quarter of the 18th century Medium: Steel, wood (walnut), brass, bone Accession: 48.84.6 On view in:Not on view